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A taste of campus coffee

Sipping coffee in halls of residence, listening to the cut and thrust of a debate and attending a lecture have helped to dispel the misconceptions a group of teenagers from the east of England had about student life.

The University of East Anglia opened its doors to children from backgrounds where higher education is not the norm. Many were from rural areas with no experience of university.

Laura Kennedy, 16, from Cliff Park high in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, said:

"Although I was thinking of university before, this has definitely made my up mind. Some say university can appear daunting, but after being here this week, I'm very excited about what lies ahead."

The pupils stayed in halls, met students and went to lectures. They were each paired with a student "buddy" who helped them settle in and answered their questions. Ben Jones, 16, from Gaynes school, Upminster, Essex, said:

"After a while we felt we really were students. If you ever had any misconceptions about university, then this will clear them up."

And Sahaffia Khan, from Cliff Park high, said it had ended her doubts about going into a medical career.

She said: "I have always wanted to be a doctor, but did not know what field and I was scared about not knowing what to do. The health course here this week has shown me a range of different areas in which I could work as a doctor and I now know what I can explore. If you are not sure university is right for you, this course will help you decide. You may well come back knowing it is not what you want, but you'll have a fun-packed week while deciding."

Social events on offer ranged from skiing to ballroom dancing.

All the pupils received a certificate at the end of the week. Louise Bohn, UEA summer school project co-ordinator, said: "We hope it gives pupils confidence in knowing what is out there for them in further education, if they wish to pursue it."

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